What’s better than Netflix and chill? A trip to the cinema, that’s what. Here’s our guide to Dubai’s best.
Words by Ayush Narayanan
While streaming services might be on the rise, for most of us, nothing beats a night at the movies, especially as cinema experiences in the emirate are no longer simply a screen and some popcorn.
This feature only outlines permanent instalments, so be sure to check in with our weekly round-ups to find out about ad-hoc and pop-up screenings.
(Please note, timings, prices and offerings may change during Ramadan. Check directly with cinemas before booking.)
For the hungry
If you’re a food-lover and popcorn isn’t enough, Reel Cinema at Jebel Ali Recreation Club features a gourmet fast food menu put together by celeb chef Guy Fieri and a fully licensed bar. Read our full review here.
Jebel Ali Recreation Club, Jebel Ali. Various packages available, from AED 30 for a movie only to AED 125 with starter, main course and a soft drink. www.reelcinemas.ae
For date night
The new Love Lake in Al Qudra is pulling in couples from all over the UAE because it’s beautiful and free, and who doesn’t love a cheap date night? However, if you’re ready to spend a little, check out Roxy Cinema’s Platinum Plus experience at The Beach. For AED 200 you get deep leather recliners and a meal in the classy lounge or served to your chair. Afterwards, head for a romantic walk along the shore at JBR.
The Beach, opposite JBR. AED 200 for a three-course meal, mocktail and a movie; AED 126 for movie. www.theroxycinemas.com
For bargain hunters
A huge screen with laser projections, comfortable leather seats with a little table for your edibles, massive leg room, and Dolby Atmos sound – in our opinion, Vox Max really does have everything required to squeeze the most value for your money. There’s two for one with some bank cards too.
Tickets from AED 36.75 standard 2D, AED 52.5 premium view.
Visit uae.voxcinemas.com to find your nearest screen.
For bragging rights
Reel Cinemas’ Platinum Suite is the VVIP experience with cosy leather recliners with leg support, complimentary blankets and pillows, and tray tables with ambient lighting. Waiters at your service and a made-to-order menu finesse the experience. If you arrive early, make use of the premium private lounge, and its range of classy mocktails.
AED 168 per person. The Dubai Mall. View the menu and see what’s showing at www.reelcinemas.ae/suite
For the kids
Parents, Vox Kids has you covered with a brightly coloured cinema for little movie lovers. In addition to the funky, multi-coloured space, you can also hire a party room for total cool kid status.
AED 42 per person. Find your local screen and book a party at uae.voxcinemas.com
For outside of Dubai
It’s the end of the month, your wallet’s running on low, but that new movie you wanted to watch is out. Head over the border to the Star Cineplex in Sharjah, though and tickets start from just AED 31.50. You’ll find Star Cinemas branches all around the UAE, just not in Dubai.
Locations and timings at www.starcinemas.ae
For an immersive experience
If you’re a fan of action and thriller movies, Vox 4Dx will not disappoint. This cinema setting transports you into the movie with moving seats, breezes, scents and more. It’s not the cheapest experience and not suitable for everyone (sorry expectant mums), but if you want to go on a ride along with the Expendables, there’s no better way to do it.
AED 105 (motion+3D). Locations and more info on medical exclusions are at uae.voxcinemas.com/4dx
For a world first
Imagine being in the middle of a gunfight shown on a 270 degree-wide screen? Reel Cinema’s ScreenX is the world’s first ‘multi-projection immersive cinematic platform,’ where movies can project on to cinema walls. Grab the rows further back to make most of the experience and be sure to call Reel ahead of time too, as the number of movies shown are limited and tickets are sold on a weekly basis.
Regular tickets AED 68, premium AED 78.75. The Dubai Mall. Visit www.reelcinemas.ae for timings and screenings.
For the indie kids
The Gulf’s only art house cinema, Cinema Akil in Alserkal Avenue, has seriously old school vibes, from plush red seats rescued from Dubai’s last standalone cinema to eclectic and inspiring screens that you can take in over a cup of chai.
AED 50. 10pm-12am. Cinema Akil, Warehouse 68, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz. www.cinemaakil.com
For the students
In education and under 23? You can either redeem your Lock&Stock points with Novo Cinemas for great deals or get a seat-and-snacks combo on Mondays at Vox Cinemas. Want more? Use Mashreq Liv card’s once-a-month offer of AED 47.25 for two tickets at Vox, or du’s weekly Tuesday offer to buy-one-get-one at all Vox outlets.
And for later in the year when the weather cools down
Make the most of Dubai’s winter season and catch a blockbuster outdoors. Check out our guide to the best outdoor cinema spots; we’ve got venues for the broke, the financially blessed, and the ones in-between.